Just what is the Oboe D'amore?
Literally translated as "oboe of love" in Italian, the Oboe D'amore plays in the key of A; a minor third lower than the oboe. Given the D'amores' similarity to the oboe's register, its use tends to be for the unique tone rather than any increase in range.
As you'd expect sitting between the oboe and the Cor Anglais it is a sound between these two instrument, and is often considered to be the mezzo-soprano of the oboe family. While similar in pitch to the oboe, the bell is more familiar to the Cor, in that it is pear-shaped.
The Oboe D'amore was composed for by baroque composers Bach and Teleman, but then it's popularity waned until composers like Strauss (Symphonia Domestica) and Debussy (Gigues), Ravel (Bolero) and Delius began to feature it.
Probably the most famous solo is from Ravel's Bolero:
Despite the limited repertoire, most oboists would still love to indulge themselves with the instrument. It is still made for by modern manufacturers such as Howarth, Loreoe, Rigoutat, Fossati and Marigaux (pictured), but comes with quite a high price tag.
We occasionally get them in secondhand and they are quickly snapped up. Got one hiding away? We can soon find a new owner to love it!